Spicy Bean Curd Triangles

Looking down onto bean curd heaven!

Did you know that “bean curd” is just another way to say “tofu”? A lot of people in the USA have problems with tofu. I don’t really blame them. It doesn’t look too appetizing in the first place and if you’ve never had it prepared properly then you may never know how good it really is. I love tofu. I didn’t much care for it until I moved to China and learned that rather than being a meat SUBSTITUTE, in Asia tofu is a regular part of many dishes, starring alongside meat or sometimes the focal point of the dish, using meat as a flavoring tool. People in China and all over Asia have all sorts of tricks to make tofu display its true star power. If only I had time to taste and learn everything they know! Like a Bean Curd Buddha. This recipe from my “1000 Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World” cookbook intrigued me because it used few ingredients and promised a pleasing and fragrant dish. It did not disappoint. I think tofu skeptics might even approve of this one, but make sure they’re cool with Chinese five-spice powder too…it’s rather a lot to take the first time if you’re not used to it. This is a great greasy meal for vegetarians (hey, sometimes we like to eat naughty food too!) and I’ve a mind to throw these on the grill next time we use it to see how nice they’d grill up (extra firm tofu grills really well). Anyway, I had two pictures of this dish. One looking directly down on the dish and one from the side that gave a little bit more of a close-up on the tofu. I couldn’t choose so you get to enjoy two photos this week…and they’re not as terrible as some of my others have been! Slowly I’m getting the hang of this picture thing, though I really think I need a pretty new camera.

Spicy Bean Curd Triangles
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ginger root
1 pound firm bean curd, well drained
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 leeks, shredded and halved
shredded leek, to garnish

1. Mix together the salt, Chinese five-spice powder, sugar, garlic powder and ginger powder in a bowl and transfer to a plate.
2. Cut the bean curd cake in half diagonally to form triangles. Cut each triangle in half and then in half again until you’ve formed 16 triangles.
3. Roll the bean curd triangles in the spice mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. Let it stand for an hour.
4. Heat the vegetable oil for deep frying in a wok until it is almost smoking.
5. Reduce the heat slightly and add the bean curd triangles to the wok. Cook for 5 minutes, till golden brown.
6. Remove the bean curd from the wok with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm till needed.
7. Add the leeks to the wok and cook for 1 minute.
8. Remove from the wok and drain on paper towels.
9. Arrange the leeks on a warm serving plate, place the bean curd on top and garnish with the fresh shredded leek. Serve immediately.

Spicy Bean Curd Triangles

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